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INTERVIEW: Yebo – Africa’s First All-Factual VOD Platform

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Luis Monzon
Luis Monzon
Journalist. Reach me at Luis@ITNewsAfrica.com

The new normal of homebound lockdown and isolation is quickly becoming less of a novelty and more like a permanent state. Billions all across the globe have either settled or are settling into life with limited outside contact due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With sources of information and entertainment increasingly limited to the house, content creators and news sites are doing the best to keep thousands informed and entertained at the same time.


Now, as the world gets to grips with lockdowns, Africa 24 Media has launched Yebo – the continent’s first all factual video-on-demand platform. Yebo is designed to be the home of Africa’s History, Biography, and Discovery and continue A24 Media’s legacy of being a leader in telling stories from the continent.

As a factual content platform, A24 Media believes Yebo will be critical brain food in a world filled with entertainment programming. It is a break from movies, music videos. Through the stories on Yebo users, both young and the not so young can get a chance to learn about the continent as well as different issues like health, environment, and innovation.

[Tweet “Yebo will be critical brain food in a world filled with entertainment programming. It is a break from movies, music videos.”]

ITNA’s Luis Monzon had the opportunity to speak to Asif Sheikh, Canadian-Kenyan businessman, founder and CEO of Africa 24 Media about the Yebo VOD platform. Here’s what transpired:

Telling African stories is crucial to millions of Africans that may not know their histories, nor the real-life heroes that took part within them. Many of these stories are lost to time, how will Yebo work to bring these stories to Africans in insightful and entertaining ways?

We live in interesting times where the African renaissance is sweeping through the globe and different parts of our lives, be it cultural, economic, or even lifestyle. The renaissance comes with a lot of curiosity about our heritage, culture, history. Through the 12 years, my team of experienced journalists and I have been keen on documenting these areas of interest into short and long narratives.

If you look through our content catalogue you will realize our content ranges from serious stories to entertaining music shows and even very short stories with fun facts on different things African.

We continue capturing the past of Africa, its present expeditions and future aspirations. It is our mission to make Yebo the guide to know Africa and be Africa.

Video-on-Demand (VOD) is becoming increasingly popular all across the world, yet in Africa, there are millions who have yet to subscribe to or perhaps even become aware of any VOD services. How will Yebo cross this digital divide to bring its particular brand of ‘brain food’ to those that would benefit the most?

Well, you are right that the awareness of such services is not known to the masses. However, as Yebo we believe the content we have is part of what every African needs to watch, and we are trying to reach that goal in two ways.

First, we are working closely with journalists who are passionate about telling success stories on the continent. The media is key in setting the agenda on what we as the public consume and so we believe the audience is mature for the African continent and curious to know what is happening around the continent.

Secondly, we are also making our content available free of charge to anyone who visits the site, we believe information should be available at no cost, and so we only have very few of our stories on a pay-per-view basis. We believe giving quality stories without tying our audiences to a monthly subscription fee is an effective way of spreading good vibes about Africa, starting right from our home in Nairobi, Kenya.

In terms of content, what will Yebo’s short stories look like? What avenues will they take? What stories does Yebo want to tell?

We ride on the premise of three things; History, Biography and Discovery.

By telling Africa’s History we hope to educate our audiences on the richness of this beautiful continent, through major events that happened and how they impacted the course of the continent.

Through Biography, we highlight key personalities both men and women who have been voices of reasons, captains of industries, revolutionary political figures and champion humanitarians and give the audience an up-close and personal experience into the lives of these people.

On Discovery, we take the audience on an expedition through the beauty of our lands, the intensity of our cultures, ingenuity of our entrepreneurs, scientists, and innovators.

We tell factual stories in an edu-info-taiment perspective; we will educate, entertain and inform you through the stories you watch on Yebo.

Is Africa 24 Media going to produce all of Yebo’s content, or are you seeking other production houses to aid in your endeavour? Perhaps local production companies that could benefit from the exposure and experience.

First and foremost we have over 16000 hours of content within our vault as Africa 24 Media, this is from our coverage of Africa over the 5 decades, so we don’t expect to run out of content. That said, this is a distribution platform, so at some point, we will start collaborating with like-minded content creators from around the continent to offer them a platform to showcase their factual stories to the world.

A great deal of Africa’s history is, unfortunately, very sad, and even more is controversial to this day. How will Yebo handle producing and distributing such delicate content?

Well, you will agree with me that in every adversity you find great stories of resilience. Stories of an underdog overcoming insurmountable odds. Whether it is that Kenyan businessman who offered water to thirsty elephants during drought, or the doctors who travelled from across the continent to help DRC fight Ebola, or even the remarkable story of the young Ghanaian army man who took power and gave it to civilians through a democratic process.

You are right our history is checkered but the above examples are just examples that we have many good stories to tell and that is what we as Yebo are doing. Not denying our past but finding that silver lining in every grey cloud.

Through which methods will the Yebo platform be accessible? 

We are available on the web on any browser and you enter a world of unlimited African stories. We are also available on an android app you can download, our the Yebo Live app on Google Play Store.

Edited by Luis Monzon

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